These aren't your average hotel stays.
Photo By: Buubble
Photo By: Tubohotel
Photo By: The Manta Resort
Photo By: Tiny Digs Hotel
Photo By: Entre Cîmes et Racines
Photo By: Jason Wynn
Photo By: Bar 10 Ranch Hotel
Photo By: West Virginia Department of Commerce
Buubble (Reykjavik, Iceland)
Whether you go to Iceland for the midnight sun or the northern lights, a stay in one of eight clear bubble lodges at Buubble is the way to go. Just a 70-minute drive from Reykjavik, the largest bubble sleeps up to two adults and one small child. Switch off the lights, lie back and enjoy a colorful late-night sunset in summer or a vivid green aurora borealis in winter. At this time, a stay at Buubble can only be booked as part of a Golden Circle Tour. From $568 per night.
Treehotel (Harads, Sweden)
Childhood fantasies of living in a tree fort are realized at this creative take on the tree house. There are only 6 tree houses to choose from, and each has a distinctive look, from a bird’s nest to a UFO. As one would hope, the only way to enter each one is by ladder or rope bridge. Creature comforts, including a bathroom, are part of each eco-friendly lodging. The Mirrorcube is especially fascinating since its mirrored surface functions as the perfect camouflage for a true tree house getaway.
Tubohotel, Mexico City
They may not be luxurious, but these tube-shaped rooms, grouped into small pyramid formations in an organic garden at Tubohotel, are certainly distinctive. Backpackers will find basic creature comforts, as each one is outfitted with a queen-size bed and blankets, towels, a fan and light. Bathrooms are in a separate building. Beyond a small pool there are few amenities on site, but the ancient town of Tepoztlan is close. About 45 minutes south of Mexico City, it offers a weekly craft market, historic former convent and a New Age vibe. Back at your tube, admire Tepozteco Mountain while mentally planning a hike to the storied Tepozteco Pyramid.
The Manta Resort (Pemba Island, Tanzania)
Manta Resort is a remote retreat off the east coast of Africa on the remote Pemba Island. What it lacks in 5-star luxury it compensates for in terms of providing a true Robinson Crusoe-type getaway. To be fair, personal butler service is included, so guests aren’t exactly roughing it. However, the true star is a 3-level structure that functions as its own private island. It may look unassuming from above ground, but its secret is an underwater bedroom where you can spot trumpet fish by day, and elusive squid at night.
Tiny Digs Hotel (Portland, Ore.)
Portland is often associated with the hit show Portlandia, coffee, and now, tiny houses. Find some of the best tiny house lodging at Tiny Digs Hotel, seven individually themed houses in East Portland. (The owners plan to add five more.) Commonalities involve a deck, bathroom, kitchen, queen-size bed with high-end bedding and air-conditioning. A number are even pet-friendly. Beyond that, each tiny dig artfully reflects its theme: Train, Barn, Beach, Gypsy, Modern, Cabin and Bamboo. All are worth writing about, but of note is the sophisticated Bamboo (pictured), as it draws inspiration from Asia with its Tansu stairs, Japanese wood-staining technique, and yes, plenty of bamboo. Modern is another standout as it perfectly embodies the concept with a floating living room, transparent acrylic wall and LED bath faucet.
Icehotel (Jukkasjärvi, Sweden)
Known as the world’s first ice hotel, the Icehotel in the Arctic Circle is made entirely from snow and ice and rebuilt anew every December. All of the rooms include fur blankets and polar sleeping bags, while deluxe suites have the added benefit of a heated bathroom and sauna, along with a (non-ice) mattress on top of the ice bed. All suites are also individually decorated with ice carvings and sculptures by a small number of carefully selected artists. Depending on one’s needs, there’s also an ice chapel and ice bar on the property.
Entre Cîmes et Racines (Quebec, Canada)
Admit it, you’ve wanted to stay in a hobbit house ever since watching Lord of the Rings.This one from Entre Cimes et Racines, an eco-lodge in Quebec with 12 one-of-a-kind units, is a pretty satisfying approximation. Called Le Hobbit, the round, one-room lodge possesses the requisite greenery-topped roof, round entryway, round windows, a wood-burning stove and rustic furnishings. There’s no electricity, possibly in keeping with the theme, but there is a dry (non-flush) toilet. However, there are also bathroom facilities in the main building. Otherwise, bring your own food, bedding and towels and prepare to semi-rough it, hobbit-style.
Yurts at Yosemite Lakes RV (Yosemite National Park)
Add a little adventure to your romantic weekend by staying in a yurt. You don’t have to sacrifice all the creature comforts. These yurts at Yosemite Lakes RV park are electrified and come equipped with microwaves, a mini fridge and a coffee maker.
Bar 10 Ranch Hotel (St. George, Ariz.)
Realize your Wild West fantasies by staying in a Conestoga-covered wagon on a working cattle ranch in the Grand Canyon. Each of the 14 wagons can accommodate two people, and provides the basics: bedding, a bench, and a battery-operated lantern. Just know that the wagons are only part of the adventure. While at Bar 10 Ranch Hotel, opt for a multi-day rafting trip along the Colorado River; go horseback riding; or try skeet shooting. And since the best way to reach the remote ranch is by plane, spring for the full adventure trifecta by taking a tiny charter from Las Vegas — you won’t regret the spectacular aerial views.
Thorny Mountain Fire Tower (Dunmore, W. Va.)
One of West Virginia’s oldest state forests, Seneca State Forest borders the stunning Greenbrier River. The park offers 23 miles of hiking and biking trails perfect for the adventurous couple. The forest’s secret gem is the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, which offers the perfect escape. You can rent the tower overnight and get a star-gazing experience you'll never forget. The 14-by-14-foot space contains living and sleeping quarters for two.